The Nines

When we saw The Nines at Sundance, Uber-screenwriter turned first time director John August made this statement that took me aback. When asked about how he plans to market the film, August revealed his idea to release the complete raw footage from the film along with the DVD release.

“Essentially, you could load it into your Avid or Final Cut system and it would show up neatly divided into bins. From there, you could cut your own version – or better yet, mash in other content to create something unique: The Nines vs. The Grifters, or Donnie Darknines: The Koalapocalypse.”

I wasn’t quite sure if the idea was insane or genius, but it certainly got me thinking. It’s definitely an out-of-the-box idea that deserves more consideration. Now August is planning to use the same idea for the movie’s theatrical trailer.

Right now, we’re surprisingly close to having an official trailer. After seeing vastly different approaches–comedy to thriller to existential drama–it became clear that no matter what the tone, there are approximately 15-20 shots which were in nearly every version of the trailer. Which is a pretty small number. Which raises a natural question… Why not let people cut their own trailer?

I know they have had trailer contests in the past, but nothing like this. I remember once reading an interview with Cameron Crowe who talked about the importance of the trailer edit, which he admitted may have been the downfall for Almost Famous. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I believe they had a contest to cut a trailer for the film to promote the DVD release. Crowe said something in the interview to the effect of “If we had this trailer, we would have done so much better at the box office.” Of course he doesn’t know that. And hindsight is much easier than real time. But this begs the question: Can the Internet cut a better trailer than the studio marketing guys. And especially in the case of a complex non-cookie-cutter idea that is The Nines.

August has started the discussion over on his blog about how such a contest should be handled (How much footage would be needed, what formats…etc). It’s both interesting and exciting.

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